Outside my window, thunder and lightning and heavy rain are celebrating in some kind of atmospheric rave. It’s a good day to sit down in my window-seat with a book and a cup of tea.
Today, I’m finishing up a novel called The Ghost Network, written by Catie Disabato and available through Melville House Publishing. It’s a captivating novel, not just because of the suspense and mystery provided by its plot — which are definitely present, but because it inspires an investigation into how we construct spaces in which to think, live, imagine, work, and move. I find myself mulling over passages and referring to Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space or Guy DeBord’s The Society of the Spectacle now and again — and, I feel inspired to listen to the music of Lady Gaga in the background, or follow up with episodes of Twin Peaks, both of which I like and that the story of this novel bring to mind.
So far, I’ve enjoyed the novel, and I hope to say more about it when I’m finished reading it. For now, I want to leave you all with a few passages that stayed with me:
“For reasons I failed to comprehend during my first research trip to Chicago, Molly Metropolis was fascinated enough with the L to dedicate years of her life to designing a map that layered each potential, but never constructed, alternative or expansion to the L on top of a map of all the functioning L lines. She also included train lines and stations that had once been part of the system but had gone out of use. She created the map on a computer and also painted it onto the wall of a secret office she kept in Chicago. This giant, unwieldy map is the project called The Ghost Network.
Molly’s Ghost Network is a strange piece; it catalogues not only a hypothetical transit system, but also one that would be nearly impossible to build and ridiculous to implement. The Ghost Network has, for example, dual train lines riding side by side for their entire route, save one or two stops; it has places where both elevated and underground trains run the exact same route. The Ghost Network exists in a world without decisions, where every proposal is adopted, where construction isn’t based on the realities of the city.” (page 59)
On my mind is material that lives in my own novel-in-progress (which shares very little in common with what I am reading, except that both feature musicians and ghosts to an extent), the past and context and historicity of place. I might say more about this on another day.
From Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space:
“Since a phenomenological inquiry on poetry aspires to go so far and so deep, because of methodological obligations, it must go beyond the sentimental resonances with which we receive (more or less richly-whether this richness be within ourselves or within the poem) a work of art. This is where the phenomenological doublet of resonances and repercussions must be sensitized. The resonances are dispersed on the different planes of our life in the world, while the repercussions invite us to give greater depth to our own existence. In the resonance we hear the poem, in the reverberations we speak it, it is our own. The reverberations bring about a change of being. It is as though the poet’s being were our being. The multiplicity of resonances then issues from the reverberations’ unity of being. Or, to put it more simply, this is an impression that all impassioned poetry-lovers know well: the poem possesses us entirely.” (xxii, The Introduction, by GB)
The notion of resonance is particularly important to my own work — in my poetry and also in my prose. Everything is an echo of another thing, perhaps. In navigating these echoes, I think that we can find something of the experience invoked, some nexus between writer and reader and their shared bond for the duration of the reading experience.
From The Society of the Spectacle by Guy DeBord:
9. In a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.
It is usually important to keep DeBord in context, but this statement reminds me of the incredibly tumultuous times in which we are living, fact and fiction blur together, belief overtakes logic, and what is felt as true can sometimes feel like a betrayal of a more comforting reality or vice versa. Writing involves making choices, and those choices resonate as much with human experience as what that human experience chooses to negate in its acknowledgment of the real. I’m thinking about what is disclosed and what is concealed in the ordinary act of interacting with the world around us, what energetic echoes are left behind.
If you’ve read these things or want to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear what you have to say.